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TC Might Double Parking Fines

November 3, 2010
TC Might Double Parking Fines

Ticket scofflaws, beware: Traverse City is targeting your wallet.

In a 5-2 vote, city commissioners on Monday night paved the way for higher fines for those who overstay their welcome at downtown meters. A final vote on the rate hikes is scheduled for the board’s Nov. 15 meeting.

The current $5 fine would double to $10 if paid within 15 days. If paid in 16 to 30 days, the ticket would be $20; if paid after 30 days, it would cost $30. The same fines would apply to drivers who don’t have a parking permit and get busted parking in permit-only lots.

The rate hikes were proposed by the Downtown Development Authority, which oversees the parking system, and are designed to raise $109,000 to maintain the parking system’s fund balance and pay for long-term maintenance for the city parking decks.

“I just thought that when we built the parking decks that we built in the maintenance costs,” said commissioner Jim Carruthers, who predicted that the higher meter fees will mostly be paid by tourists.

City Manager Ben Bifoss explained that maintenance costs can’t be built into bonding issues and that fines help fund the entire parking system.

“I don’t think street fines should be paying for the parking deck,” said Mayor Pro Tem Ralph Soffredine, who voted against the measure to consider the ordinance change. “It looks to me like a money maker, and I don’t think it’s fair.”

Executive Director Bryan Crough said the DDA looked at a number of options to raise the $109,000, including fines, permits and raising meter rates. According to DDA estimates, the new meter violation fines will raise an estimated $59,000. The balance would come from higher meter bag fees (incurred when a meter is temporarily covered in a bag to prevent parking) and increased parking permit costs.

“It was decided that $5 was just not taken seriously as a fine,” said Crough. “We never like to raise parking rates. I think the rates are reasonable [at the increased rate of $10].”

The city treasurer’s office processes more than 20,000 parking tickets annually.

At the Nov. 15 meeting, TC commissioners will also consider pricier parking permits. Under that proposal, monthly surface permits would go from $35 to $40, a quarterly permit would rise from $85 to $90, and an annual permit would jump from $290 to $320.

A monthly parking deck permit would go from $50 to $60, a quarterly deck would climb from $105 to $120, and an annual deck permit would jump from $370 to $405.


Most Recent Comments

 
James on November 4, 2010 10:30pm

I don't really understand the complaints. It's not making it more expensive to park downtown. It's making a stiffer penalty for parking at a parking meter for TOO LONG, thus freeing up space so more tourists can park.
The money made also pays for the PARKING DECKS created for the tourists. Why are people complaining about the lost tourism $$?

michelle on November 4, 2010 9:42pm

Chase our tourist out of our busy town. No time to go into another store or to take their time shopping because of a meter running out of time.

stacey Wilcox on November 4, 2010 5:58pm

Has TC ever considered what Petosky does for first time offenders or "not recent" offenders? I have gotten a very nice note that reminds me of paying for meters and watching the time - but thanking me for shopping DT.

Kathy Jakee on November 4, 2010 1:10pm

Wow! Traverse City is always pushing people to come "down town", now we are being punished for doing so. City commissioners you are driving more of us out of city. Well MALLS here I come! Traverse City has got to make it more then TOURIST attraction. People who live can't afford to stay. No industry, no work, no money to spend! How much unemployment is there in TC now? Bet commissioners don't even know if and they do what are they doing about it? Just thinking out loud.

Rick on November 4, 2010 9:51am

Have you ever seen downtown TC in the summer. People love the small town atmospere, reminds them of the good ole days. A $10 parking fine won't change that and compared to some other cities around the country, $10 is a joke and does not discourage anything.

Brad on November 3, 2010 9:55pm

Really? What price would you put on breaking a law? That space that you're holding could be used by someone who would ALSO like to spend some time patronizing our merchants besides you and yours'. Getting 30 minutes free is a nice perk. Have any of you folks ever spent anytime in a real city? $10.00??? That's cheap for a violation. That would hold you accountable for your selfishness, heaven forbid!!! Now all we have to do is ensure that the meters work properly, that might help to increase revenue too! Quit crying!

zack on November 3, 2010 5:51pm

Parking tickets are $50 here in Chicago. Park in a bus stop - $100. A $5 fine is not much of deterrent these days.

I'd be interested in seeing the business case for parking meters in TC. That is - is their revenue from coins and fines covering the costs of sending meter maids around to check them?

TCY on November 3, 2010 4:07pm

This seems crazy!! Isn't the purpose of the DDA to ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO COME TO DOWNTOWN TC!?
This is a surefire way to discourage people to say away or never come back! With the cold winters in TC I would think the DDA would do everything possible to entice people! It should not be about the $ generated; what about the $ lost!

Tim J. on November 3, 2010 12:37pm

This is ridiculous! How can you justify this? We need to stop focusing on the parking lot and focus on the roads! They're damaging cars and destroying snow plows, not to mention dangerous! I'd like to see the corner of S. Airport,Barlow and Lafranier fixed now. Very dangerous corner!!!!

Vivian on November 3, 2010 11:58am

Just one more reason not to visit our wonderful, friendly, downtown merchants. Since we have lots of malls (which I also don't frequent), why would anyone take a $10 or $20 chance when they can park free? I have lived here all my life and can only say: people used to be friendlier and more helpful, but now it's all about the money.

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